Sometimes known outside Russia as the Kirov, Mariinsky Theatre is the city's premier cultural venue. Named after Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II, the building dates from 1860 but stands on the same site as a wooden theater erected in 1765. The greenish facade of the structure appears unassuming, but the glittering multi-tiered interior is a jewel among St. Petersburg's ageing auditoriums. The theater is famous for the Kirov Ballet Company, but it is best known for opera.
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